Two people that helped shape my promo read

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I wanted to write a blog about how grateful I am for two people who have helped shape me into the VO artist I am today. Although there have been MANY people I have looked up to in my journey (and still do), this blog is dedicated to the two people who have affected my career in promo the most.

When I chat with people about what it takes to “break into the voice over industry” inevitably the discussion turns to classes or coaches. You MUST get guidance from someone who is experienced to help you find your vocal footing. And once you feel comfortable with your “read” you have to learn how to audition. And then even after you book your first job, you have to learn how to work in an actual session. There is a difference between giving a killer read in an audition, and giving killer read after read at an actual paid session. You need to be able to take direction, understand the difference between your ABC reads (or “three in a row”), and consistently give the performance that is expected of you based off of what the client heard in your audition. You need to learn so many skills in order to have a successful career as a voice over artist.

But guess what? That process of learning and perfecting your skills never ends. The industry is always changing and the sound that is popular today won’t be popular tomorrow. And what is popular tomorrow won’t be popular next week. You get the idea. Even the most prolific and prodigious of voice over artists has to constantly hone their craft.

I want to take a moment to explain what that means to me. Maybe my story will help you find your own mentors in your own voice over career — whether you’re just beginning or are a seasoned pro.

A little over eight years ago I auditioned as the in-show announcer for The Soup on E! I was hired by one of the executive producers, Edward Boyd, who also directed me the first few years of the show. I was just beginning to transition out of the younger promo read so booking The Soup was a huge deal for me since it was a more “adult” show. I was also really beginning to love promos. Even though I had booked quite a few promos jobs for networks with younger demographics, I wasn’t incredibly experienced with promos for the older demographic, or with the difference between promo and announcing. In-show announcing is a very small world! So even though I gave a read on my audition that Ed connected with, actually producing the “right” read in the actual sessions proved to be a “learning” experience. Ed was incredibly patient with me and really took the time to guide me towards my best read. I learned so much from him. But I think the skill he taught me that has been the most valuable in shaping my read in promo and announcing (because this particular skills transcends both) is to separate each thought. Each sentence must have a different feel that separates it from the one before and the one after. In other words, each line is important in its own right. But Ed really helped me hone in on what that feels like; After all, voice over is muscle memory. You have to feel each emotion in your muscles and then be able to reproduce that feeling in your read consistently. This skill has proved invaluable to me in my promo career and has helped me connect with promo copy for all types of different shows. Since The Soup is ending in a few weeks, I really wanted to share my appreciate and love for Ed for not only giving me a chance when he hired me, but for helping to shape me into the voice over artist I am today.

The second person who really gave me “aha” advice was a producer I work with on The Today show for NBC, Jennifer Kaas. I had the privilege of working for her in person in NY during one of my trips this year. Even though we had previously worked together over ISDN, working with someone in person allows you a kind of collaboration that is more intimate and special. In one of our sessions she said something to me that has really stuck with me and improved my promo read tremendously. She told me when I read in my lower register, I “cut through” better. In promo, there is so much going on visually and aurally (music, on camera talent lines, sound effects) that the key is for the VO to “cut through” all that to reach the audience. Her bit of advice to me was to stay in my lower register because my voice cuts through naturally and connects more. It was a light bulb moment for me and I have been consistently auditioning for promos in my lower register and that read has been connecting with more and more networks/shows. So thanks Jennifer!! You were such a mentor to me on that trip to NY!

I don’t think either of these producers knows how profound their wisdom and guidance has been for me and my evolution as a voice over artist. I adore them both!

It is important to be a sponge in this industry. Know who you are, but take criticism and guidance wherever you can and turn it into something that works for you. It may not always work, so keep that in mind. But always be open to honing your skills and craft. Good luck!

The Land Before Time 14 Announcement

I can FINALLY announce a new project I provided a voice for! I will be reprising my role as the grumpiest Triceratops (but also the bravest and most loyal friend!) “Cera” in The Land Before Time franchise. The 14th movie, entitled “Journey of the Brave,” will be out in time for Easter 2016!

Cera is one of my favorite characters to voice because she reminds me a little of myself when I was a kid: bossy, opinionated, and with an innate desire to prove herself. But also incredibly loyal, caring, and in the end you can ALWAYS count on her!

We had a wrap part last night to celebrate all the hard work the cast and crew put in to make this movie look and sound as amazing as it does. So many people lent their incredible talents to this project. I am posting a few pictures of the ones I was lucky enough to capture on my camera ;)

BTW, we have a HASHTAG for any posts you want to post about the movie now or any time in the future: #LandB4time If I see any posts with this hashtag I will try to like or retweet!

Aria Anndi Miriam

Ducky (Aria Curzon), Cera, and Grandma Longneck (Miriam Flynn)

Anndi Felix

Cera and Littlefoot (Felix Avitia)

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Ducky (Aria), Cera, and Michele Brourman (who writes the music for the movies)

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Ducky (Aria), Littlefoot (Felix), Cera, and BRON!! (Scott Whyte) being silly

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Ducky (Aria), Littlefoot (Felix), Cera, and Bron (Scott)

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CHOMPER! (Issac Brown with his little sister), Ducky (aria), Cera, and Littlefoot (felix)

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Chomper (Issac), Littlefoot (Felix), and Cera



New Comedy Podcast!

Hey all! I’m excited to announce a comedy Podcast I’ve been lending my voice to for some time now is finally live! You can listen to it straight from the website or from iTunes (same name). Essentially it centers around the shenanigans of one of my very good voice over buddies, Mocean Melvin, and his group of friends. There’s a LOT of poking fun at the voice over industry so if you’re curious about some of the stuff that goes on “behind the scenes” in our world, this is a super funny way to find out! Please enjoy!

Merry Christmas–a personal wish and story:

I am not a religious person. But I still celebrate Christmas. Growing up, we always had Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house. My dad would cook up a storm and my siblings and I would rush through dinner in the hopes we could get to unwrapping presents as soon as we were finished eating! But because we were not religious, Christmas was always about being together as a family. Dinner was always home cooked and took all day, my siblings and I would set the table, we decorated the whole house as a family, and we took great joy in watching each other open presents. My brother and I used to wrap presents for each other with duct tape or do other terrible tings to each other as siblings often do. But it was all in good fun! Some years we had a tree, but most years we didn’t. One year, when I was around 10, my parents bought a LIVE tree and after the holiday was over, they planted it.  That tree grew to be HUGE! I went to my parents house today to take a picture of it 25 or so years later:

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Now that I’m an adult and out of the house, I keep the tradition alive by hosting Christmas Eve dinner at my house. My husband and I cook and invite over family, which includes his mom as well now (the rest of them are in Europe–hopefully they come out one of these years). This was our first time hosting as husband and wife, so that was especially exciting!

This year I kept presents on the top shelf of my closet until I had time to wrap them. When I went to grab the presents off the shelf I stumbled across something that reminded me of what I love about Christmas–taking an entire day (or two if you celebrate both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) out of your life to focus on sharing love with people in your life.

So what did I find? Well, when I bought my house around 11 years ago, it was under rather unfortunate circumstances. The man who owned my house was a retired Veterinary doctor who also owned a house in Colorado. He was driving from Colorado to this Los Angeles home when he, his girlfriend, and their dog were struck by a drunk driver. Sadly, they lost their lives in the accident. His two adult daughters survived him and decided to sell the Los Angeles house. They wanted to sell it rather quickly, and after fighting another potential buyer for it, they daughters decided their father would want a young woman, just getting started in life, to have it. So I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to buy the house. When I moved in, the house was completely empty EXCEPT for one item, sitting on the top shelf of the closet in the master bedroom. It was a Father’s Day card from one of the daughters to the man who used to live in my house. It was given to him in 1998 and I bought the house in 2003 which meant he had kept the card for a few years. It was special to him. I have always felt that the the fact that the card was the only thing left in this house was some kind of cosmic sign and it was left here for a reason. I never got to meet his daughters, but through this card I feel like I share in their love for their family. The card has always brought me a sense of calm and well being–as if he is here watching over me. Here it is:

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I have kept the card all these years as a reminder of how fleeting life can be and how the only thing that really matters at the end of it all is the love you share.  In one moment, an accident can take someone special away from you.  We can’t always choose our circumstances and sometimes we are dealt terrible hands. But we are all capable of love and sharing it is the greatest gift there is.  My wish for you this holiday season is to spend it loving or being loved whether it’s with the family you were born to or the family you created. And my best wishes to you for the coming year!

Create your own world using a mic and software-like I did:

Ok so I admit that in my shower I think I am the world’s greatest coloratura. I have never had any operatic training but something about the acoustics makes me feel like I’m in some grand European cathedral performing for people who have come from all over the world to see me. But did you know that with a microphone and some cool programs, you can make whatever audio fantasy YOU have come true? I did that with Pie Jesu by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This is a song I often sing in my shower, but because there’s a harmony in it I obviously can’t create the full effect just singing in the shower. So tonight I decided to find myself a karaoke version of the song and record myself singing with the harmony of myself on my computer!! Whoohoo!! I recorded (just a little bit of the song) using Adobe Audition in my booth and THEN I added an AltiVerb plugin which made my voice sound exactly the way it would if I were standing in the middle of St. Owens Cathedral in the U.K. THIS is how I sound in my fantasy when I’m singing in the shower and technology has made my fantasy come to LIFE!! You can mess around with programs and see what kinds of interesting songs, characters, or sounds YOU can make! Remember, if you have an interest in the world of voice over, you can’t be afraid to PLAY! So here is my fantasy version of what I hear in my head in the shower! ;)



Early performance

I became a “professional” actress around the time my sister recorded this home movie of me singing “Why do Fools Fall in Love” in November of 1988. I think it’s hilarious and I wanted to share with you! You can hear my brother’s “commentary” throughout. My brother also was a professional actor for awhile and even voiced “Littlefoot” in the “Land Before Time 2-4.” I took over as “Cera” in “The Land Before Time 5″ so we never got to work together, but you can hear my brother’s singing on youtube as “Littlefoot” if you search for it. No, I am NOT the only singer in the family!! ;)

Anndi McAfee singing c. 1988

A new article I wrote that was published-check it out!

Very recently I have dabbled in writing articles. It is something I never imagined myself doing, but I do have a background in rhetoric, I have a pretty unique job, and I love reading articles on various blogs/websites. So I thought to myself, why not try? I am very proud to share with you my most recent one published on the pretty awesome website “All Women Stalk,” It’s key demographic is women, but men, you can certainly peruse it as well!! This article is very close to my heart as I share with you some very tough lessons I have learned throughout my life that have helped me move forward. If you’re feeling “stuck” or restless, maybe this will help. Please feel free to share your thoughts. Anndi’s Inspirational Article on All Women Stalk

My first guest blog!

So my partner for FitMuses, the exercise app for women I founded last year, and I wrote a guest blog for “All Women Stalk” about ways to make the time fly by while you’re exercising. It’s our first guest blog and we are hooked! We are brainstorming for our next contribution and hopefully we will have more to share soon. You can read the article here:

Interview for

Christie (my FitMuses partner) and I were asked by to give an interview about our experience launching our mobile app, FitMuses. Being an “expert” in voice over is one thing, becoming knowledgeable in a whole new industry is quite another! SO here it is, my “return” to being in FRONT of the camera!! Ha!
FitMuses Interview with